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golden hare

(A Xanth Thread Original)
Part One

!!!Scene One... Where all the trouble started.

ComPewter Tangleman discovers Pewter lurking in a cave somewhere, idly plotting world domination (as usual). Tangleman decides to analyze Pewter.... and unaccountably changes his mind, deciding to become Pewters willing slave instead. He aids the infernal machine by wandering Xanth and Tangling with the innocent inhabitants, causing chaos and misery wherever he goes...

!!!Scene Two... Pewter's Slave Causes Mischief.

Tangleman A mundane wolf has wandered into a tangle tree's lair. Walking along the nice path, Wolfgang looked up as he heard a rustling in the trees. He decided it was just the wind. He started down the path, when the tree's tentacles grabbed him and drew him into it's maw. "Heh, heh," the tree chuckled as it masticated *wow* the wolf's hairy carcass.

!!!Scene Three... Wolfgang Causes Some Mischief of His Own...

Wolfgang Wolf Lucky for Wolfgang he had not taken a bath for sometime and the tree spit him out "phoooohey!!!" Wolfgang went flying through the air and right into StormWing Centaur's back side, who, as luck will have it, was looking over the edge of the gap chasm. "Egad!" shouted StormWing, as he started to tip over the edge of the chasm. Wolfgang grabbed him by the tail and braced himself. StormWing, who had a present for someone in his hand, placed it in his mouth to free his hands up. Wolfgang immediately let go of StormWing and covered his face with his hands. "Why did you do that" shouted StormWing as he started falling over the edge. "Why, don't you know?" said Wolfgang, "Never look a gifted horse in the mouth"

!!!Scene Four... StormWing's Gift....

StormWing Centaur StormWing still had the gift in his mouth when he fell over the edge, but being the Alicentaur that he is, he simply started to flap his monstrous purple feathery wings. Soon he was floating above the gap chasm and he turned to say something to Wolfgang but he had disappeared that quickly! So StormWing decided to head on to his destination and deliver the present on to the person for whom it was intended - cHaMeLeOn.

He could see her in the distance, walking along a path with Grundy Golem sitting on her shoulder (complaining as usual) and Esk Ogre was right alongside her, looking as dumb as he possibly could. StormWing got very close and shouted out to cHaMeLeOn and the others "Hey there you guys! I've got a gift here for cHaMeLeOn! Wait for me, I'll be right down." He descended toward them slowly and landed quite gracefully right in front of cHaMeLeOn. As he handed the gift to her, he said "This is for you, O Beautiful, though not-very-nice-at-present Changeling Female. It's from ...". Suddenly he was startlingly interrupted as he saw Grundy vanish in front of his own eyes. "Ohmigod! Grundy!", screeched cHaMeLeOn.

!!!Scene Five... cHaMeLeOn Receives a Surprise...

cHaMeLeOn "Where did he go???" StormWing began to mutter to himself. "Do I smell or something? I seem to be having a strange effect on people lately."
Esk Ogre, confused about Grundy's disappearance, and StormWing's strange mutterings, spoke to cHaMeLeOn. "Me no dummy, Something seem very funny?!" cHaMeLeOn, quite flustered now, as could be expected, considering her present mental state, turned to the seemingly calm and thoughtful centaur. "What are you talking about Storm?" Finally, the brilliant creature before them, again took notice of their presence. "My beautiful woman," he began, "I understand that you are not presently cogitating at genius level, but I will do my best to explain. At the present time, I am attempting to logically discern any possible explanations for the two disappearances of late." Again Esk looked upset. "Me saw Grundy go, Who other you know?" "I am so sorry, my large rhyming friend." said Storm. "I forgot that you two are unaware of the other disappearance. Before I got here...." cHaMeLeOn's eyes grew large, as she heard this, and she interrupted, "You mean someone else disappeared?!" "Unfortunately yes, my dear." StormWing replied. "Wolfgang Wolf, to be exact. I didn't realize the significance of the disappearance at first. Now, I believe there must be some connection, but the question remaining is, what that connection might be. Maybe if you told me where the three of you were headed, it would help." "But Stormy," cHaMeLeOn started, "what's in the box?" "Open it my dear, and you shall see." Storm replied. Timidly cHaMeLeOn began to pull away the paper, and Esk Ogre leaned toward her, to watch. Inside the box lay a small golden key, and a folded piece of paper. cHaMeLeOn and Esk Ogre looked at each other and then looked down at the paper. cHaMeLeOn opened the paper, and with the giant ogre peering over her shoulder, began to read out loud. "This key will open many doors. Be wary of it once it's yours."
"What's up guys?" cHaMeLeOn and Esk turned around to see Mina Nymph standing behind them. "What's with the key?" she asked. "We don't exactly know yet." began cHaMeLeon, as she started to turn back to their again quiet centaur friend. "What do you think, Storm?" But StormWing Centaur was gone. "He was right here, now nowhere near" said Esk. "Okay you two." Mina said, obviously somewhat befuddled, and concerned, due to the mental status of her two friends. "What's going on? Who was here? And what's that key???"

!!!Scene Six... Poor Confused cHaMeLeOn...

Mina Nymph "I saw Grundy a moment ago. What happened to him?" Mina said. "I think he disappeared." a very confused cHaMeLeOn said. "Oh, well if you see him could you give him this? It's from Surprise." "Er...... of course!" Suddenly cHaMeLeOn starting walking toward the forest murmuring, "I have to find Bink............ Dor too........... my family............" "Are you ok?" "Fine.......... my family.............." Mina looked up and saw Bink coming down the path. "Oh, hi there Binky! cHaMeLeOn here was just gonna go off looking for you, weren't you............. CHAMELEON!?!!?!!" "Oh shoot, she did it again." Bink said. "Did what?" "She's getting a bit um, eccentric, you see, and sometimes she wanders off." "Well let's go look for her." Mina said as she started for the forest. "Wait.............." Bink said.

!!!Scene Seven... Bink Cogitates the Matter

Bink Mina turned around towards Bink as he called after her, and Bink said "I was just going to say that ....." Bink stopped in mid-sentence as he looked past Mina to where cHaMeLeOn should have been, walking towards the forest, but there was no sign of her. It was just as if she had ...... disappeared. Bink, blinked in amazement "Where'd she go?" he asked. Mina whipped around with a startled cry and looked around everywhere, but there was no place for cHaMeLeOn to be hiding and she would not have had enough time to get to the forest. "She gone too, what we do?" asked Esk. "Who, who else has gone. What IS going on?" cried Bink, a tremor in his voice indicating his concern. Mina filled him in on what she knew, that four Xanthians had strangely disappeared without a sign, including Wolfgang Wolf, Grundy, StormWing Centaur and now Bink's wife. "This is greatly distressing news, just let me think for a moment", said Bink, and he sat down on a stump in a classical mundane pose of thought, with an elbow resting on his knee and his fist supporting his head." He sat there cogitating on the matter for so long that Esk eventually said: "How long you think?, lets find them Bink." Bink looked up and said "Of course my large friend, we must indeed do something about this matter, but first I must tell you a few things that have happened recently. For a couple of weeks now I've been worried, very worried. I've had this feeling that things aren't right but I just can't put my finger on it, but I've had this strange tingling feeling, as if my talent is trying to tell me something. This has only happened on a couple of occasions and only when the existence of Xanth as we know it is being threatened." "cHaMeLeOn has also been acting rather strange for the past few weeks, occasionally acting very vague as if she were drifting off into her own dream-world. Unfortunately this has been occurring during her beautific but simple stage, and sometimes I have been getting the impression that she has been trying to tell me something but she she can't seem to let it out, and whether it is because she is unable to articulate her words and collect her thoughts, or someone (or something) is stopping her, is unclear. I have been waiting for her to change into her ugly, but smart stage which will make things clearer, since if she acts the same it will indicate that something fishy is going on, but now it seems that I won't get the chance." "Her disappearance also now substantiates something of which I was previously dismissive. This morning I was talking to her while chopping some wood and not hearing a reply I turned around only to notice that she wasn't there. I shrugged my head and presumed that she had gone inside or something, but a second later I thought I heard a strange noise and looking around noticed that she was standing right behind me, but I hadn't heard her walking up. She also had a dazed expression on her face, which quickly cleared and she was her normal self carrying on as if nothing had happened, and I put it down to my hearing getting worse." "I didn't think a great deal of it at the time, but now I think that I may have been foolish to so easily accept her recent behavior and that strange occurrence. Now that I've thought about it a bit, it is possible that whoever, or whatever has been taking away these people has been trying to get at cHaMeLeOn, but since her disappearance would cause me great distress, my talent has been stopping whoever it is from taking her away, resulting in her acting very vague. However, noticing that something was wrong, the entity behind all this may have increased its powers and just failed this morning, but got it right the second time." With that thought Bink's eyes opened in shock at the realization of the power involved that could overcome his, though his talent was working at its fullest strength since the situation did not threaten him physical harm..... yet. Esk clapped Bink on the back to show friendly support, but which nearly bowled him of his feet. "You talk long, but be strong." Esk said. "Don't worry Bink, we'll find her. We'll find all our friends", assured Mina, with an assurance she did not readily feel. "But I really don't know where to start", Bink said despairingly. "No fear, me got idea", said Esk..............

!!!Scene Eight... Esk's Idea

Esk Ogre Setting: An enchanted forest path--around dusk Bink speaking to the rest of the clan... "I think we should keep walking through the night, my powers should protect us. Plus we have an ogre with us. We should be safe" "Are you sure? You don't sound too confident... I'm pretty fragile you know. Where are we going anyway??", questions Mina Nymph. "Oh, I'm sorry Mina. Esk and I forgot to include you in our decision to seek out Magician Murphy to help us on our quest" Bink explained. "Me go, can't be slow", rhymed Esk.... They walked through the night emerging from the enchanted path sometime around midnight... "Well, we aren't quite as safe now as we... ", Bink trailed off as if he had just been hit with a reversed IQ vine. "Esk, be ready, my talent tells me there is danger lurking", said Bink "EEEEEKKKKKK" screamedMina, "A dragon! A dragon!" "But how can he see us at night?" asked Bink "I think me stink.", replied Esk Suddenly a huge dragon ran out of the forest -- fire flaming from its snout -- and attacked the clan. The Dragon headed directly for Mina because she was still screaming. Esk jumped on the dragons back and started pounding on its head, literally fragmenting the protective scales into millions of pieces. Meanwhile, Bink drew his sword and pierced the dragons heart by stabbing underneath the protective scales. Fortunately, the three adventurers were within a hundred yards of Magician Murphy's dwelling, wearily they knocked on the magician's door...

!!!Scene Nine... Murphy's Rose Garden

Magician Murphy Vadne opened the door and the party walks in. "Hello everyone, what brings you here?" "Me have scurvy and need to see Murphy" proclaimed Esk. "What?" inquired Vadne "Never mind that", added Bink "People have been disappearing and we were wondering if Magician Murphy could help us out." "He's out back." informed Vadne Everyone walked around to the back of the house to find Magician Murphy watering his rose garden. "Oh what pretty roses!" exclaimed Mina. "Huh?", asked Murphy as he turned around. "Oh, yes they are. Can I help you?" Bink told the story to Murphy of why they came, thoroughly entertaining all. "Hmmmm, this is very interesting. Were there any children around?" asked Murphy. "No, I don't think so why?" "Well, according to a mundane text, disappearance is the opposite of appearance. Appearance can also refer to clothing, such as what kind of clothing you are wearing. So if something removed their other words, their clothing, they would have disappeared. Also with a child around the Adult Conspiracy would be violated if these people were walking around naked. So maybe there is something going around stealing everyone's clothes and something else preventing the Adult Conspiracy from being violated. I don't know. You'd best be advised to ask the Good Magician." "Unclad bad" chimed Esk. "Yes, if you follow my rose garden you should come to Humphrey's castle. Good luck!" The party started on their journey along the rose garden. When they were not too far away, Mina looked back and where Murphy was standing, now stood only a rose. They could now see the castle parallel to Murphy's rose path. They tried to cross the path but are unable to. "Oh-no!!!", screamed Mina, "This isn't a rosepath! It's a rows path! How are we gonna cross? I don't see any columns anywhere...."

!!!To Be Continued...
Click here for the second half of "The Golden Locks of Hare"

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